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Richard Wainwright, the Liberals and Liberal DemocratsUnfinished Business$
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Matt Cole

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780719082535

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: July 2012

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9780719082535.001.0001

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The SDP/Liberal Alliance

The SDP/Liberal Alliance

(p.185) 13 The SDP/Liberal Alliance
Richard Wainwright, the Liberals and Liberal Democrats

Matt Cole

Manchester University Press

This chapter focuses on the political alliance of the Liberal Party (LP) with the Social Democratic Party (SDP). The launch of the SDP, led by Roy Jenkins, in March 1981 presented Liberals with a dilemma. Liberal Party leader David Steel decided to work with the new party through an electoral and policy alliance instead of trying to defeat the well-resourced organisation. This chapter explains that Richard Wainwright did not dismiss or disown the Alliance in public and only tried to get as much out of it as possible, until circumstances presented an opportunity to move on. It also suggests that from an early stage Wainwright foresaw the end of the SDP, and the subsuming of much of its membership into a single, liberal, party.

Keywords:   Liberal Party, SDP, political alliance, Roy Jenkins, David Steel, policy alliance, Richard Wainwright

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